For Americans with type 2 diabetes, new diabetes medications offer hope for managing the disease — and some troubling side effects. As discussed previously in Part 1 and Part 2, patients taking newer drugs always involves some risk. Part 2 looked at how some new diabetes drugs may, in fact, worsen the very symptoms they’re supposed to ease. As a result, we’re seeing thousands of Invokana lawsuits filed over the drug’s dangerous side effects, including:
- Kidney issues
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
- Amputations (i.e., lost toes, feet cut off below the ankles and legs removed at or below the knee joint)
In Part 1, we examined some key differences between Invokana (canagliflozin) and other new diabetes medications like Jardiance and Farxiga. Over time, scientists and type 2 diabetics alike discover more hidden dangers requiring additional study — and updated drug warning labels.
Today, we’ll explain why so many type 2 diabetics are driving a surge in Invokana lawsuits.
Invokana Lawsuits Highlight Dangers of Off-Label Use
Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary company, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, makes Invokana. Janssen sponsors medical studies and conducts clinical trials hoping to expand Invokana’s FDA-approved uses. The company also tests off-label Invokana uses, like weight loss in non-diabetics.
First, let’s look at Phase II clinical trial results presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions. Researchers found combining Invokana with appetite suppressant phentermine delivered 7.5% weight loss. Study authors tested this combination’s effectiveness against phentermine alone, canagliflozin alone, and a placebo. After 26 weeks, combo-drug patients lost 7.5% total body weight; those taking just phentermine lost 4.1%. The Invokana only group lost 1.9%, while the placebo group lost just 0.6%.
Almost two in three patients taking Invokana and phentermine lost 5% body weight. Among the placebo group, just 17.5% accomplished this goal. Janssen also touted the statistically significant drop in systolic blood pressure for combo-only patients.
While using Invokana off-label to lose weight may sound appealing, results were short-lived. The first study prompted a year-long follow-up from the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). What NIDDK researchers learned is that after six months, weight loss in the combo drug group slowed, then completely stopped. That’s because increased appetite led participants to eat 50 more calories every day for each pound that they lost. In other words, taking Invokana off-label to shed pounds could make you gain even more weight a year later. Similar studies show for every pound you lose, hunger drives you to consume 3x more calories to gain it back.
Non-diabetics taking Invokana risk side effects like amputations, kidney failure, DKA, and death. Invokana lawsuits for potentially deadly side effects should give dieters pause before trying it for weight loss.
Invokana Lawsuits for Deceptive Marketing Echo Past Claims J&J Paid Billions to Settle
Janssen does what it can to minimize side effects — and even appears to pay doctors to prescribe Invokana. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) data shows that drug and device manufacturers pay billions to physicians and hospitals. In 2016 alone, these payments totaled $8.19 billion in acquisitions or royalties for intellectual property use. It’s a startlingly lucrative relationship that skirts many legal issues. Since many Invokana lawsuits allege the drug’s manufacturer made misleading marketing claims, J&J and Janssen may pay a hefty price.
In 2013, the drug giant paid over $2.2 billion to settle criminal and civil charges from the U.S. Justice Department. The company faced kickback scheme allegations as well as marketing its blockbuster antipsychotic, Risperdal, for unapproved off-label use in children. Janssen heavily promoted Risperdal to pediatricians for treating children with autism prior to the drug’s FDA approval for that use. As a result, thousands of boys under 18 taking Risperdal suffered a side effect called gynecomastia (rapid, large breast growth).
Since the only corrective option is painful, complicated surgery, thousands of plaintiffs sued the company for unreported Risperdal side effects. Several young men won multimillion-dollar settlements due to their disfiguring injuries.
If you believe that all pharmaceutical companies pay doctors to prescribe their newest drugs, think again, says Dr. Jerry Avorn. Dr. Avorn, a Harvard Medical School professor, asserts that the first drug choice for treating type 2 diabetes is metformin. And metformin’s an affordable generic drug, says Dr. Avorn — no company is paying doctors millions of dollars to prescribe it.
Janssen now faces over 1,000 Invokana lawsuits from patients suffering amputations, DKA, kidney failure and other dangerous drug side effects.
Pending Invokana Lawsuits Consolidated Under MDL 2750 Prepare for Trial
Invokana lawsuits continue to grow as more patients suffer serious, life-altering side effects. All individual Invokana lawsuits are now consolidated under the December 2016 federal MDL 2750 in New Jersey. The two presiding judges already ordered case selection for 12 bellwether trials slated to begin in September 2018. Six Invokana lawsuits headed to trial involve plaintiffs who developed diabetic ketoacidosis, while the other six cases involve kidney injuries. However, Invokana lawsuits for lost toes, feet and legs cut off below the knee haven’t yet reached bellwether trial status.
If Invokana lawsuits under MDL 2750 follow recent trends, attorneys and plaintiffs can expect settlement conferences sometime soon. Judges often order settlement conferences in hopes that both sides can reach an agreement before bellwether trials conclude. Right now, there’s time for injured plaintiffs to file Invokana lawsuits and transfer them under the New Jersey MDL 2750. But like other class actions and MDLs, waiting too long to file Invokana lawsuits can disqualify plaintiffs from financial compensation. That’s because once J&J and Janssen reach a settlement agreement, the court sets a deadline to join the class action.
Injured Type 2 Diabetics Can Check Eligibility for Invokana Lawsuits Online In Just Minutes
If you or someone you love suffered life-threatening complications after taking Invokana or Invokamet, you may have an eligible case. Affected patients can check their eligibility for Invokana lawsuits online without first filing a claim. To see if you may qualify for a cash settlement, complete your free Invokana case evaluation today. After submitting your information, an experienced lawyer handling other Invokana lawsuits in your area will call to discuss your case. You’ll get the opportunity to ask any questions during your confidential in-person consultation, then decide whether or not to proceed.
For Part 1 in our series, read: New Diabetes Medications, Part 1: An In-Depth Comparison and Review.
For part 2 in our series, read: New Diabetes Meds, Part 2: A Closer Look at Side Effect Risks.
Related: Invokana Litigation Update: MDL 2750 Consolidates Diabetes Drug Claims
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.